November 4 ~ Lunch Bags

on November 4 | in Handmade Holidays | by | with 60 Comments

If we all made just one lunch bag to give this holiday season think of how many brown bags (trees) we’d save! Think of all the lunches made just a bit better with a bright, cheerful bag! Kids love these but adults do too. Do you know anyone who’d like extra incentive to pack a lunch (and save a little money in the process)? Forget just one… Let’s all make several!
Oilcloth Lunch Bags
Tracy from Jumilla Bugs used both oilcloth and vinyl-coated fabric to make these lunch bags. She shares her technique with you in her Lunch Sack Tutorial.
Back to School Lunch Bags
This is not really a tutorial (!) but the idea was so great we had to pass it along. Bookmark it and use tomorrow’s tote tutorials as the starting point for Quenna of Blissful‘s great approach: Back to School Lunch Sack Idea. Quenna adds that she’s a life-long crafter, a stay-at-home mom of two girls, an obsessed wallet designer with an Etsy shop and a “major fabric hoarder!”
Lunch Bag Based on a Grocery Sack
Mary Beth of Supa Fine wanted a lunch sack that was roomy, accommodating and reusable so she designed this to suit her (and possibly your?!) needs: Lunch Bag Based on a Grocery Sack Tutorial.
Oilcloth Lunch Bags
Dorie from Tumbling Blocks made this lunch bag with a lot of hope (see her blog entry) and passed her approach onto you with this Oilcloth Lunch Bag Tutorial.

Pattern Recommendation

If you’d like to try a pattern, we suggest this one:

In Town Bags

Fabric Recommendations

Here are just a handful of fabrics we love for these projects:

Beth’s choice Kristin’s choice Lauren’s choice
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Click the pattern or fabric images above to visit the Sew, Mama, Sew! store.

More Handmade Holiday ideas:
3 ~ For the House
2 ~ Pincushions & Pins
1 ~ Aprons

Show us how you create Handmade Holidays! Join our Handmade Holidays photo pool!

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All links and photos from blogs on our Handmade Holidays posts are used with permission.

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60 Responses to November 4 ~ Lunch Bags

  1. Samantha says:

    I found a tutorial like the 2nd lunch bag (that doesn’t have instructions). It’s at

  2. Kim says:

    Guess Id better add oilcloth to my list! Ohhh My!!! How CUTE are these?!


  3. frugalmom says:

    I love the lunch totes. Especially the ones with the long carrying strap. My daughter carries a cloth bag right now, but I think she would like to have something a little more stylish like those.

  4. Lib says:

    I made the last oilcloth one this week! It’s a great project.
    Thanks for making your site a must-read with all these instructions for Christmas gifts!

  5. Tammy Wittig says:

    I love the lunch bags! I looks like a perfect way to use different pieces of oilcloth I got in a grab bag a while ago! Thanks for the ideas.

  6. Leslie says:

    Ooooh, I love these. I’m thoroughly enjoying the handmade holidays posts! Thank you!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Oh the green oilcloth is fabulous! I don’t ever take a bagged lunch anywhere but I might change my mind if I had something besides a Winn-Dixie bag to carry it in. Snacks in the skiff would be elevated forever to picnics with a lovely bag such as this to carry the cheese and crackers in.

  8. Jane B says:

    I have made several of the grocery sack lunch bags. They work up so easily and are going to be great gifts!

  9. Hettie says:

    I don’t know what happened to my comment, so let’s try this again…

    I love the bags! I just wrote a blog about Handmade Holidays a few days ago and each day keeps getting better! Thank you!!!

  10. I need to make these for my kiddo’s! I am all about the oilcloth!

  11. ccswch says:

    This is an excellent idea! Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve been looking for ideas to make gifts for the kiddos in my family and these will be perfect!

  12. mama k says:

    Love the oilcloth version! Easy to clean too.

  13. Isabelle says:

    Wow, I love that idea!! I need to bookmark this and come back to it later 🙂 Thanks, again! 🙂

  14. layla says:

    I like the oilcloth too – easy to keep clean. Some of these designs are so great it makes you WANT to make your own lunch!

  15. adrienne says:

    Very inspiring! =]

  16. Loopy says:

    Genius!!! Now I can stop lugging my lunches around in my purse.. Messy…very messy

  17. Kelly says:

    Perfect – I’ve just started substitute teaching, and was thinking that I needed a cloth lunch bag. Thanks for the links!

  18. Michelle says:

    Oh, goodness. Every day you come up with something that gives me so many ideas. Thanks so much, now can you find a way to give me some more time?!

  19. meg says:

    Aha! I think I see another gift idea waiting to be made! Of course I’m partial to the one without a tutorial; deep down, I must seek out challenge. 😉

  20. amelia says:

    great tutorials! i made mine yesterday, and can’t wait to put it to work! thanks!

  21. MelissaB says:

    What a fantastic idea!!! Love that sock monkey fabric! 🙂

  22. Love the lunch bags! I am going to have to make one for my hubby I think, since he takes a lunch to work almost every day (and I would love a more green way for him to do that).

  23. Karie says:

    These are way too cute!! I am totally going to make my sons some for next year when they bring their lunches to school!! Such a cute Idea!!

  24. iSew says:

    This is great, I’ve had lunch bags on my list forever. Now I have so many ideas for them.

  25. Lindsey says:

    Thank you for bringing these together! I wanted to make some over the summer, but didn’t get a chance. Now that school is upon us and my son has lost his first lunch bag, ever, I can use these to make him another, possible to stuff in his stocking.

  26. stacy says:

    I love the lunch bag in oilcloth! It’s gorgeous!

  27. Thank you for the shoutout!

    And boy, I have had my eye on that Denyse Schmidt argyle plaid for AGES now. I think it’s time. Thanks for the reminder.

  28. Esther says:

    Girls, I absolutely love this one!

  29. Hashi says:

    I made the fabric grocery bag today, it’s snazzy! (Pictures on my blog). It can be rolled up and shoved in the bottom of my handbag so I can say “no thanks” to a plastic bag at the store, even if I forget to take one of my totes out of the trunk before going in.

  30. Wow! Just followed a link from the Front Porch of the site. This is wonderful. Great site. I am thrilled to find all the holiday patterns and plans. Thanks so much!

  31. Nicole says:

    How timely–I’m working on a lunch bag for my son! I never thought to make more, but if my attempt works, I’ll churn out a few more. I am really impressed with the ideas here, can’t wait to see what else is in store!

  32. Ashley says:

    ooohh, I love making bags, its my specialty!!

  33. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for the great lunch bag tutorials~ Cant wait to make a Lunch Bag Based on a Grocery Sack.. Looks great for a grocery bag also since most places seem to be going plastic bagless..

  34. We’re swooning over here!

  35. zannestar says:

    I love these! Lunch Bags, along with Fabric Shopiing Bags are on my to do list as Christmas presents for my entire family. (Can’t wait to work through my stash so I can shop more…)

  36. Anna says:

    Ohh, I didn’t think Sew Mama Sew could give fantastic links to a suitable present for my father in law. Taking your obentoo (lunch box) is a big thing for him and he has seasonal cloths to wrap them in but not a bag. I think he would look really cool carrying his lunch on the train with one of these snazy numbers. Might make one up for my husband too (as well as a shirt) as well as a few friends school aged children. Thank you once again for all the fantastic links. Sew Mama Sew and all the tutorial writters are certainly making the handmade Christmas pledge easy.

  37. carolyn says:

    I’m lovin’ this daily handmade holiday gifts…

  38. Shelly says:

    Love the tuts….

  39. Karyn says:

    Another day, another list of fantastic ideas! I use a handmade tote bag to bring my lunch to work, but I really like the grocery bag-inspired tutorial. That would make a great gift.

  40. Oiyi says:

    I love all the lunch bags. They are great.

  41. Colleen says:

    I love this idea, even though I rarely carry my lunch with me! I’m thinking of converting one of these to a knitting lunch bag- perfect for carrying or packing knitting project with me or in my briefcase. Thanks for the great inspiration!

  42. Missy says:

    I love that oilcloth lunch bag! Wow- every post this month has me adding to my to do list. If only I never needed to sleep- maybe I could do them all!

  43. Joan says:

    Really great designs. I love them all.

  44. marcie says:

    Great ideas! Thanks for putting this all together!

  45. Rachelle says:

    I need to get my hands on some oil cloth

  46. Violet Westergaard says:

    My little one will start daycare this spring. I don’t have any oilcloth but maybe laminated cotton would do??


  47. Libby says:

    Oh, these are fantastic. I really wish I could sew so I could make some. Definitely on the to-do list for 2008.


  48. Megan says:

    Great tutorials! Can’t wait to see what cool projects the next week brings.

  49. KushKush says:

    Wow great idea – every bag is so cute!!
    May thanks for these posts

  50. Carol says:

    These are a million times prettier than recycling a plastic gracery bag for my lunch. The Amy Butler pattern would be a good one to use for this.

  51. Lunch bags are a wonderful way to teach sustainability! My daughter’s school requires that lunches be brought in a reusable vessel. This gives me more creative ways to help my daughter learn the importance of not being wasteful! Now to find sustainable fabrics…

  52. Holly says:

    I love the idea using a plastic grocery bag as a template!

  53. andrea says:

    like these a lot!

  54. Jenny says:

    Lunch bags were on my “to make” list but I never thought of making them for a gift!
    What a great idea! Thanks!

  55. Lisa NYC says:

    What a great idea! I especially love Tumbling Blocks’ Oilcloth Lunch Bag. Unfortunately, I don’t have any oilcloth…BUT I do have iron-on vinyl and that will have to suffice.

    I’ve posted additional lunch bag tutorials if anyone is interested.

    Thanks again for all the wonderful ideas!

  56. Lil' d says:

    Great ideas! On a related note, I wish the supermarkets in the US would offer reusable bags similar to ones I saw in The UK on my last visit – far easier to use than the cotton sacks I’ve seen over here and they hold loads.

  57. orata says:

    These are great! Thanks for posting them.

  58. Vickie says:

    I love the lunch bags! They are great! I think it would be a fun idea for a gift and add some things that usually go in a lunch bag!!!
    Thanks for another great idea!

  59. Amanda says:

    LOVE the lunch bag ideas! I take my lunch every day and I have been thinking of making a lunch bag with all of my fabulous new fabrics. I can’t wait to get started.
    Thanks to Sew Mama Sew for putting these 30 days of gifts together for all of us. It is sew much fun!

  60. Lorraine says:


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